I read this post earlier this week, and it made me laugh out loud several times. Jay and I spoke on Tuesday, and he kindly agreed to let me repost it here. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
On a regular basis I get followed by Twitter accounts that look fishy in some way. After reviewing a few thousand Twitter profiles over the years, I’ve found a few keys to making an account look like its got some ill intent behind it. So if that’s the direction you’re looking to go, here are what I hope you find to be helpful hints:
* First, give yourself a username that has 4 numbers at the end or more than one underscore. My favorites are the ones that have this pattern: “Woman’s name_in_name of place”. Be creative though. There are new heights to reach here for spam accounts. Perhaps a combination would work best for you, such as “@Cindy4462_in_SF”.
* Next, don’t download a profile photo or avatar. No, just go with the big white egg that’s standard when you first set up a Twitter account. This saves time and will be a clear indicator to potential followers that you are a spam account.
* Whatever you do, do not give yourself a bio. Giving yourself a bio starts to make it iffy as to whether you are a spam account. It’s best just to remove all doubt and leave this field alone. I repeat… if you want the Twitterverse to be sure you are a spam account, do not put any information in the bio section.
* The next step is easy enough but takes a little more time. Follow 1999 or 2000 Twitter profiles, but make sure that no more than 150 follow you back. In fact if more than 150 follow your Twitter account, it’s best to block some of these to keep this number acceptably low. Warning: if you do not, people might begin to think you’re a real person behind a legitimate account.
* Additionally, you should post no more than 8 tweets. Sure, it seems simple enough; but you will be tempted to tweet more. Resist the temptation. Tweeting more will lead to all kinds of confusion for a spam account…
* As a corollary to this, it’s best if you stick to tweets that really don’t make sense in and of themselves. Things like “Cycloramic sweep” work well. Using someone’s name in a tweet without it actually being a Twitter reply is also an excellent way to present yourself as a spam account, such as: “Intense and stubborn dogmatism, Stacy” or “Yo can you hear me now Karin” (especially when first starting an account). Some of my best students have gone on to utilize this technique with great effectiveness.
* One of those confusion-causing activities is the use of mentions. For the love of all that is evil, do not reply to a tweet or mention another Twitter profile. This is called engagement and must be avoided at all costs. You want to be a good spammer, don’t you? Well, don’t you?!
Please note: to achieve greatness in this area it’s best to put into practice all of these techniques. If you slip up in one or two areas, however, don’t get down on yourself. Most people will still recognize you as a spam account. Keep the goal in front of yourself. Review these principles as often as you need reminding. Keep practicing, and repeat this mantra to yourself on a daily basis, “Be less. Do less. Spam success.”
We are always looking for additional ways to help spam accounts achieve their goals. No, this task is never finished. Please add to the dialogue by submitting your ideas and suggestions.
Thanks, Jay. Several people, myself included, added some good suggestions. So check out the comments to the original post.
And while you’re there, subscribe to his blog and follow @Chatterbachs on Twitter.